Updated: June 6, 2020 9:40:00 pm
The Western Command authorities have decided to open the golf club at Chandimandir Military Station, known as Shivalik Environmental Park and Training Area (SEPTA), for retired officers with effect from June 8.
The move has not gone down well in certain quarters with questions being raised on the need to allow outsiders’ entry into the military station at a time when the Coronavirus was rapidly spreading each day.
Currently, strict restrictions are in place for outsiders entering the station.
However, the Command Headquarters authorities have prepared a detailed list of Dos and Don’s as per which retired officers can play golf from 6:30 am to 1 pm from Monday to Wednesday and on Friday and Saturday. Serving officers will be allowed to play from 2:30 pm to 7 pm. A maximum of 80 retired officers and 64 serving officers will be allowed to play on any given day.
While the Central government, in its guidelines, had ‘advised’ veterans over 65 years of age to refrain from playing, the instructions issued for opening of the golf course reiterate the same but are silent if this advise would be enforced.
Members of the SEPTA have been asked to book slots 72 hours in advance over telephone and one member can only play thrice a week on the course due to restrictions.
Only self driven cars will be allowed inside Chandimandir Military Station and not more than two persons should be seated in each vehicle. At the main gate, temperature of the members would be checked and a sticker pasted on the vehicle.
The instructions further mention that nobody shall be allowed to deviate from the route to the golf course and movement to shopping complex, ATMs, and CSD within the station is prohibited. Those found violating these conditions will be banned for one month.
The move, meanwhile, has not gone down well with a section of members of SEPTA who have raised objections to veterans living outside the station being allowed entry into Chandimandir when strict restrictions were in place for the serving fraternity.
“I fail to understand what logic has allowed the entry of retired personnel deep inside the station when we are not even allowing them to visit the Command CSD canteen. Why have we set up a temporary CSD canteen for veterans at the main gate itself if they can be allowed to venture in for playing golf?” asked a serving officer who did not want to be identified.
Another serving officer said that while civilian golf clubs such as Chandigarh Golf Club and Panchkula Golf Club had opened their courses, these were stationed on main roads in civilian area. “The government is discouraging persons above 65 years of age and with co-morbidities from moving out of their homes. Here in Chandimandir we shall be opening the gates for them to play golf,” he said.
“SEPTA is well inside the military station. On one hand the Army hierarchy has stipulated stringent conditions of quarantine and isolation to keep the rank and file secure from Coronavirus but on the other hand we are inviting people inside based on just temperature check. What if the person is asymptomatic? Who will be responsible if there is a Covid-19 spread in the station because of this,” asked the officer.
Western Command authorities, however, say that the golf course has been opened as per norms of the government. “We cannot keep the veterans away from the facility when other courses have opened and if we do so then they will object as they too are members of SEPTA and deserve its use when it re-opens,” said a senior officer when contacted.
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